Colors magazine always felt like a website, even before we knew what the Web was about. Good old-fashioned ink on paper maybe, but passionate, with a diversity of voices and a global perspective, it was a harbinger of things to come.

With Colors Notebooks, the magazine has gone Web 2.0. It’s interactive ink on paper. Created in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders, Colors Notebooks is an issue of Colors with 50 blank pages sent out to tens of thousands of readers around the world who create their own magazine and send it back to the Colors office.

Many of the writers – children in South Africa, prisoners in China – are people who don’t usually have their voice heard and who certainly don’t have the opportunity to blog. All are free to tell their story the way they want to without editorial filter. The results are astonishing – sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and often heartbreakingly emotional. Colors Notebooks offers an insight into lives that would otherwise remain hidden, expressed by people in their own words and pictures.

The first two compilations of Colors Notebooks – Faces and Violence – will be published and contain forewords by Stefan Sagmeister and Rick Poyner.

I’m passionate about interactivity as a cultural form which changes the way we see the world. Interactivity is about the way we speak, listen and relate – it’s an approach to communication rather than a form of technology. Colors Notebooks is an inspiring example of the transformative power of this approach – even when realised through ink on paper.

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